This is one of my favorite pictures of myself. It’s not particularly recent (two years?), nor particularly attractive (look at that shorts tan!), but it has a story behind it.
A few years ago, I spent a year abroad in Belgium. It was one of the best years of my life so far, and allowed me to travel and become more independent than I had ever been in my 16 years of life. However, it was also an extremely difficult year. Stress from the challenges of study abroad caused me to develop so much anxiety over menial tasks that I even started losing some of my hair. I legitimately forgot what it felt like to NOT feel stressed.
This picture was taken on the last day of exams, when I went to a local park with my class (and some my closest friends in the world). I handed my camera to a friend and ran down to the beach to jump off the dock, even though swimming in the lake was forbidden. I remember feeling so liberated, not so much because it was the last day of school (I loved my school), but because I finally realized that I had accomplished so much in that year, despite the difficulties. I had learned a new language, done well in school, made incredible friends, and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.
While it’s easy to romanticize the past, I really feel like any lows we experience only make the high points that much sweeter. Okay, this is getting really corny… But in all honestly, I think learning how to deal with my stress and focusing on positivity has made my life so much happier.
Do you have a favorite picture?